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Self-Studying AP Physics C — Princeton Review vs. Barron's

azwu331azwu331 Registered User Posts: 713 Member
edited January 2016 in AP Tests Preparation
Hello guys. I'm planning on self-studying for the AP Physics C exam in May (mechanics, maybe E&M if I have the time), and I'm trying to find the best review book for the job. As a background, I took AP Physics 1 last year and got a 5, so I have some basic physics knowledge (although my teacher didn't teach us anything... most of what I know was through self-studying last year). I've also taken AP Calculus BC and got a 5 on that exam as well.

As for the Princeton Review, I've heard that it covers exactly what you need to know in easy language, but tends to give only a basic outline of the subject for you to achieve a good score. The Barron's, on the other hand, goes extremely in depth and covers more than needed to ensure that you understand all the equations and how to derive them.

My question is: which book should I purchase to self-study with? Which book is better at preparing me not only for the exam, but for physics in general (I plan on taking an engineering route in college)? It would be especially helpful if students who have self-studied or used these books before could reply. Thanks in advance!

Replies to: Self-Studying AP Physics C — Princeton Review vs. Barron's

  • KyuutoryuuKyuutoryuu Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    I self-studied AP Physics C: Mechanics while concurrently taking AP Physics 1 last year, and got a 5 on both. I exclusively used Princeton Review because it gets straight to the point with what information you need to know, and what types of problems you need to be able to do.

    Barron's problems, and practice tests, are incredibly unrealistic and in general way too hard. Their explanations are also much more than what you need to know for either AP exam.

    However, if you really want to be on top of your game, mastering AP Physics C at a Barron's level would really set you well for engineering classes in college. Problem is, you're on limited time and your real goal is to score double 5s. "Basic" Physics C knowledge now, mastery later (in university). That's my philosophy with AP classes and self-studying in general.
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